Knit Crush: Cow Town Knits

It's not often that we see a really good knitted skirt. Kate Bostwick has designed a beautiful pattern for a pencil skirt that looks very flattering. But she is not a one trick horse, she does sweaters, baby rompers and mittens brilliantly as well, just to mention a few of her lovely designs. Below are my top four favourites from her hand. Which of her designs is your favourite?

As always, all pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from their respective Ravelry project pages, by clicking their name, you'll be taken right to them.   

The Helen Pencil Skirt 


Eleanor Romper

Kicking Horse Mittens

11 (okay 3) FOs and a winner.

11 FOs...

My oh my have I been stitching. I'm, quite frankly, unable to keep myself in knitting/crochet these days. I cast on something new and whoosh it's done already, it's so odd, considering it was only last month, I was talking about how I needed to regain my joy and knitting mojo. I need to cast on a me-sized sweater to stop this insanity.

As a result of the just mentioned insanity I bring you 11 FOs:

The first 9 FOs are cotton rounds. What?! You don't think counting them as individual FOs count? Well then, I guess 3 FOs total is a decent amount too. 11 just sounds so impressing, doesn't it, and I needed impressing. 

These are made of lush organic cotton, that is certified fair trade as well. I may have some plans in the work for them, but it is too early to tell you about them.

My second FO is the tiny waves baby hat I wanted to cast on. I started out knitting it as per the directions, but I wasn't a fan on the slouchiness, so I ribbed it back a good deal and then redid the decreasing. It's a lovely little hat, now if only I knew a lovely little baby that could wear it. For now it'll go into the baby gift basket. You can never have too many baby items on hand. 

These you are most likely familiar with if you've been hanging around for a while. Another pair of socks are ready for my dad. I've been told that if you only wear hand knit socks, as he does, you'll wear out 4 pairs per year. Thus I've been knitting him 4 pairs per year for years, but it seems his sock drawer is slightly overflowing and I don't think he has had to discard more than one pair yet, if that. As a result I may just take the rest of the year of from daddy-sock making and focus a bit more on Pia-sock making. 

Speaking of socks, I have a new pattern almost ready for you, all it needs is a photoshoot, but the weather has been uncooperative lately on the weekends. 

... and a winner

To end this post, I'm happy to announce that my dear friend Nadia of Abso-knitting-lutely! is the winner of Evin O'Keeffe's book Bake Knit Sew: A Recipe and Craft Project Annual

Free e-guides from Craftsy

Did you know that Craftsy offers a wide range of free e-guides in everything from photography to woodworking?
It's a pretty neat way to learn more about your crafts of choice or maybe dive into a completely new craft to see if it's something you enjoy.

Even if you don't find any of them interesting, which I find hard to believe since I want to read a dusin of them, then go ahead and download one if you have your eye on a class you want to take, since most of them contain a coupon code for classes in that category.

This post contains affiliate links, so if you do decide to get any of the FREE guides, I get a small compensation, which I will greatly appreciate :)

I know most of you are stitchers, so let's start with a few stitching e-guides:

"From picking the best thread for the job to innovative ways of working with beads to enhance your projects, learn everything you need to know for stunning, dimensional stitching success!"
eGuide: Adding Dimension to Your Hand Embroidery

"Learn how to crochet a chain, single crochet, double crochet and decode crochet abbreviations."
eGuide: The Beginner's Guide to Crochet 

"From necklines to shoulder styles, this eGuide will help you unlock your knitting potential, creating sweater designs perfectly tailored to your needs!"
eGuide: 20+ Sweater Designs You'll Love to Knit 

And in case you have some non-stitching interests or would like to explore some, take a look at these cool e-guides:

"Learn to manipulate variables like depth of field and shutter speed for breathtaking photos with dramatic effect!"
eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials

Cake Decorating
"From unique buttercream flavors to pretty piped flowers, this eGuide will help you unlock your sweet creativity to create eye-popping designs that are bowl-licking good!"
eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas

Food & Cooking
"From decadent classic glazed to deliciously healthy baked, to chocolate, iced and sprinkled, you'll learn everything you need to master the ultimate breakfast pastry."
eGuide: Delicious Doughnut Recipes You Can Make at Home

Paper Crafts
"From envelop embellishments to color blocked cards, you'll learn over six unique ways to transform leftover paper scraps into Pinterest-worthy projects."
eGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects

"Drawing the Human Face covers facial proportions, proper placement of features, accurately portraying eyes and lips, and incorporating shape and value into hair."
eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer

"This guide starts your journey into the wonderful world that is watercolor painting. Beginning with the basics, you'll learn how to choose paper and build a color palette. Then, it's time to move on to color study, where you'll discover how to manipulate color transparency, value, intensity and temperature for the radiant, luminous watercolor works you always dreamed of creating!"
eGuide: Beginner's Guide to the World of Watercolor

"All it takes is a little expert guidance to unearth your gardening abilities, no matter how small your space. This eGuide is full of rich information on how to container garden, from step-by-step potting instructions to an overview of the best plants for containers, so you can grow your greenest thumb, even if you live in a concrete jungle!"
eGuide: Success With Container Gardening

"With expert instruction, you'll learn the ABCs of woodturning, crucial safety tips, and how to keep your tools sharp and precise."
eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners

Let's review: Bake, Knit, Sew by Evin Bail O'Keeffe and a Giveaway


Baking and knitting are two of my passions, you know that right?! I've dabbled in sewing, but frankly it isn't my forte, but I'd love to get better at it, so what could be better than a book incorporating all those things.

That is exactly what Evin's book Bake Knit Sew: A Recipe and Craft Project Annual does in 12 chapters, one for each month of the year she brings you a total of 13 recipes, 7 knitting patterns, 5 sewing projects. 

What I love the most about the book is the stories. The little insights into her family are lovely and warming. All the baked goods make my mouth water from the pictures, but I have to admit I haven't made any of them, so I can't vouch for the taste, although I'm sure they are wonderful. 

What didn't really speak to me as much is the patterns. I'm not aware of the targeted group for this book, but some of the patterns seemed a little too simple to me. Pattern in case: the Smudge's handspan headband. I completely agree with Evin's philosophy behind the design, but the design itself just doesn't speak to me. 

In terms of the sewing projects, they were all simple enough that I'm confident I could make them without any troubles. One project in particular stood out to me: the Upcycled Felt Mittens. Those are so beautiful, I almost wish I had a washing accident. 


All in all, this would be the perfect book for someone just beginning their journey into domesticity and since I probably won't be using it I figure I would pass the copy that Evin generously provided for the review along to someone who might be gushing over it. 

If that person is you, with or without the actual gushing, just leave a comment below telling me which of the three activities is your favourite and why. 

The lucky winner will be drawn next Tuesday (24/02-15)

Winter Rainbow Salad - A Colourful Winter Blues Remedy

Do you ever find yourself craving colour in the middle of winter? I tend to engorge myself in hearty winter dishes when winter first hits, stews, meatloafs, roasts, they all make my mouth water and my stomach and heart sing, until that fatal day where I just can't stand another bland looking, although brilliantly tasting, dish. 

When I get that sudden urge for colour, I make the winter rainbow salat, it's not quite a rainbow in its colours, but it's good enough for me with purple, white, green, brown and orange.

I want to stress that this is not a medicinal remedy for any kind of serious depression, but a colourful pick-me-up for those of us suffering of a very mild case of the winter blues. On the other hand, unless you are allergic to the ingredients I don't think it could do you any harm. Use common sense, ask your doctor and all that jazz.


Red cabbage
1 fennel bulb
2 oranges
a couple of handfuls of pumpkin seeds  

2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp sugar

Finely chop enough red cabbage to feed everyone.
Chop and add the fennel.
Cut all of the skin from the oranges, cut the meat into smaller bits and add to the rest.
Roast the pumpkin seeds on a dry pan until they start popping. You can either add them to the salad or use them as a topping. 

Mix up all the ingredients for the dressing and add to the salad. Toss the salad until the dressing covers everything.

Serve with just about anything your heart desires, from cuts of meat to lasagna. 

What is your favourite food remedy for the winter blues?

Oooh Shiny or How I Want To Knit All The Things

Mission completed! I have regained my lost joy and am currently bursting with ideas and wanting to knit it all NOW.


Bella is done, well almost done. The knitting is done, the seaming is done, but she still needs a good bath and some buttons. I rarely put buttons in baby knits before I know which baby they are going to or rather which parents. Buttons can be a huge investment and people like different styles, both are taken into consideration to finish off the knit in the best possible way.


First on my must-knit-it-now list was a pair of socks for my dad, since I have no clue when I'll see him next and his birthday was late January, so really I should get going on his present, right...
The first sock is almost ready for a heel flap and as usually I'm really enjoying this meditative knit. My hands know exactly what to do and just do it with out me having to think to much about it.

A Long List of Ideas

Then there is the list of ideas. I still want to knit the hat I mentioned here
Additionally, there is a sweater for my MIL in the pipeline.
I really want to knit a dress or something for myself, maybe this one.
And another pair of socks for me would be nice too.
There is more on the list, but this sounds like a good few months of knitting already, so lets leave it here.

How are you feeling about your knitting at the moment? Is it full of joy?

3 FREE Craftsy Classes to Improve Your Cooking.

We all have to do a few things every single day of our lives, one of the most joyful things is eating. I love reading cook books, I love talking about food, I love making it and I adore eating it. I even have a pinterest board called Food, Glorious Food (brownie points if you know the movie reference!). 

Thus I bring to you a collection of free classes, that will enrich your cooking - from using whole grains and making pizza to improving your knife skills (look out for the tip on how to avoid tears when chopping onions). 

#1 - Creative Ways With Whole Grains

"This FREE mini-class is guided by Cooking Light executive chef Anna Bullett, and is packed with delicious recipes and innovative techniques to incorporate whole grains into any meal! Learn the essential methods and correct ratios for perfectly cooked grain, from brown rice to farro and more. Discover the secrets to whole-grain risotto that’s loaded with nutrients and always creamy. You’ll even learn timesaving techniques for using a slow cooker and tips for storing your grains, for healthy meals any night of the week. Then, put your new skills to use as you make a wheatberry salad packed with golden raisins and goat cheese, a wild rice stuffing full of dried cherries and pecans and more. Plus, find 14 full recipes included in your course materials, for healthy meals even your pickiest eater will devour!" 

#2 - Complete Knife Skills

"Become faster and more accurate with your knife work, and create dishes that cook evenly and look
truly professional. Guided by chef Brendan McDermott, you’ll explore proper hand placement and the
four fundamental cuts. Learn to dice, mince and julienne a range of produce. Find out how to chop herbs without bruising them or losing flavor, and never again cry when cutting an onion. Uncover Brendan’s favorite shortcuts for working with butternut squash, pineapple, chiles, citrus and more. Discover the four knives every chef needs in their kitchen, and finish the course with a lesson on honing and sharpening your knives at home!"

#3 - Perfect Pizza at Home

"Stretch your dough and your imagination as Peter guides you through each step of making a pizza. You'll make pizza sauces, consider cheese options and bake five types of dough in your conventional home oven. Impress Italian purists with a slice of your Sicilian-style, homemade pies, provide your gluten-free pizza lovers with mouth-watering meals or cook creative flavor combinations for more adventurous palates. Sign up today for Perfect Pizza at Home to learn the secrets of building and baking “the perfect flavor delivery system”!"

Which class are you most interested in?

Designing for Larger Women

This is a guest post by Natàlia Prats on designing for larger women. It's a topic I know very little about and I'm thankful for her willingness to share her experience, insights and sense of humour with us.

I learned to sew my own garments because I found it very difficult to find beautiful, classy ones in my size. When later I learned to knit, my motivations took me along the same path.  The available choice for larger sizes was -and is- ludicrously small. Making the garments myself helped me have some more choice.
Well, almost.

I soon found out that, as with sewing patterns, knitting patterns came mostly in a very limited range of sizes. When I found patterns offered in larger sizes, many of them were off-puttingly ridiculous. Or they used certain features that, whereas they allow for more room, they are not necessarily going to look good (i.e. Empire waists: some people love them, yes, but a majority of us have to avoid them or be complimented over our imaginary future baby). Apparently, ladies with curves are not allowed tasty clothes. You get a square bag with holes for head and limbs and there it is. Garish colours. Flashy designs impossible to wear in a sober environment. And above all, apparently larger ladies have all a rack that’s at least DD. Guess what, I don’t.

Pedrera (back)

Other features made many patterns a no-no for me: ridiculously tight short sleeves; ridiculously wide long sleeves; ridiculously long sleeves (think young Enrique Iglesias). A constant in winter sweaters was the lack of shaping finished off by a disproportionately tight rib just below the waist and a too tight round neck at the opposite end. Low quality materials and a lot of glitter.

Nowadays we have some more choice, thanks to having easy access to a lot more design work, and a number of designers decided to tackle the problem and create beautiful patterns that actually fit in more sizes. It isn’t still enough, though. I decided to contribute.

I found my experience in garment sewing and pattern drafting very valuable. That and an understanding of the different types of body shapes are essential in order to create a well-fitting top that makes you look good and not like a rumpled sack of potatoes. When I develop a new design, I want it to help me look neat and feel comfortable. So I try to avoid all the mistakes I’ve seen in other designs along the years:

-Some designers, for some strange reason, thought that it was enough to just scale up everything. I still came across such an instance recently: a top with a fully turned boat neck. It worked well with smaller sizes, but it became evident they had never tested the larger ones when I tried to make one for me; the garment was tube-like and the measurement of the neck had to be the same as the body with arms and all, so at my size there was no hold for so much fabric unless you had JJJ boobs (at the very least). I had to frog the entire thing. 

Bodies don’t just grow in all dimensions -otherwise we’d have lots more giants around. The reality is that most larger people are exactly the same height as the rest. Which means their extra humanity spreads widthwise. There is no point in increasing the measurements related to length except to account for the increase in volume. It’s the horizontal measurements the ones that do the hard work. This is why, if you compare the numbers in a sizing table, they sort of correlate in groups, but not all along the table. As the body shape changes when a girl grows into an adult, the measurements reflect this. As the body becomes bigger than average, another, different adjustment takes place. You cannot just say ‘I’ll make everything larger and that’s it.’ That’s when you get a tent-like shapeless garment.

-The best tip I’ve ever learned is to show you have a waist. Everybody has a waist. Granted, sometimes it hides. But in most cases, if you do something to highlight its existence, it will pay off. That’s why I prefer creating sweaters with a waist. Even if the shaping is soft, it will improve the general look. This works for bigger and smaller people alike.

-Body types. Whether you’re a pear or an apple or whatever, the combinations are infinite and you may very well never be identified with one of those models. In a very interesting conversation on this subject recently in the Designers group of Ravelry, somebody was seriously trying to determine plus size body shapes, because obviously what fits certain types won’t fit so well other types in the same size. It is a very complicated problem to which we still have no solution. The variables are too many. My take is that we’d better offer what we can, and hopefully the increasing assortment on offer will finally be able to cater for everybody. This is also another reason why different designers have different styles. Everyone tends to work with designs that fit the body types they know best.


Sometimes, when I release a pattern designed especially for plus sizes, I get asked to release it for smaller sizes too. The thing is, in the same way that not all designs are suitable for fuller figures, not all designs are suitable for smaller ones. Not only that: in the best of cases, it means having to do all the work all over again, so it’s actually like creating two versions of the pattern. Therefore, if I can’t cover all sizes I’ll work for the plus group. Smaller people already have thousands more designs to choose from anyway. 

We are constantly manipulated by the whims of the media and mass production industries. Independent designers are trying to change this, but it takes a lot of time and effort. I am glad to be helping with that change. I’ll keep working in this area, trying to create a variety of designs flattering for people who, like me, are tired of what they are not being offered.